CANTON, Ohio — To anyone who knows or has met Randall McDaniel, it comes as no surprise that he barely spoke about himself during his acceptance speech as part of the 2009 Hall of Fame class.
McDaniel told me several weeks ago that the most difficult part of his speech would be going on stage alone. The longtime Vikings guard joked he wasn’t used to doing anything without four other linemen and that he probably would have the shortest speech in Hall of Fame history.
“I don’t really feel comfortable up here without the other four guys along the line of scrimmage,” McDaniel said.
Well, his speech lasted 15 minutes. Probably twice as long as he imagined. McDaniel spent almost his entire speech crediting and thanking those who had impacted his life and his career. Included in that extensive list were his former teammates; his former offensive line coach, John Michaels; Tony Dungy; his wife, Marianne, and his presenter, O.K. Fulton. For those who don’t know the connection, Fulton was McDaniel’s high school athletic director, whom he credited with having a huge impact on his life.
In fact, just minutes into McDaniel’s speech, Fulton was visibly in tears.
McDaniel also made it a point to spend time talking about his parents, whom he referred to as his “real heroes.”
“They taught me all that was truly important in life,” McDaniel said. “I’m here today because of the lessons I learned from them. Mom and Dad, you’re my real heroes.”
McDaniel chatted live on NFL.com several weeks ago, telling some fantastic stories, including how he used to hide penny bags in his shorts to make weight, his habit of eating bags of candy before games and how his infamous stance started. More than anything, it’s simply amazing that McDaniel played the guard position in modern football at about 265 pounds.
More than a handful of Hall of Famers, including John Madden and Harry Carson, came up to hug and congratulate McDaniel immediately after his speech.
– Frank Tadych